I have a new favourite author. A big call I know but Unaccustomed Earth has literally amazed me - I want to go back and read it again straight away, I want to tell all my friends about it, I want to work out how I can weave it into my teaching and research (although, on second thoughts I might keep this book purely for pleasure!).
As I have mentioned before I am not a big short story reader. I bought this book to take with me on a work trip to Melbourne a few weeks ago and I knew as soon as I started the first story I would be in love with it. The main characters in each of the stories are of Bengali heritage - they move between worlds and lives set in India and America. They are primarily upper middle class, educated, literate people experiencing the daily moments of most lives - school, family, love, relationships, work, decisions.
The book is structured in two parts with the second part being my favourite. This section contains 3 stories which interlink the lives of two characters, Hema and Kaushik, over the course of their lives from birth through to middle age. I was literally holding my breath as I was reading the final story in this section - the ending was spectacular. I can't say anymore for fear of giving too much away.
All I can say is read this book. I am on the search for Jhumpa Lahiri's other work now.